Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
Just returned from the 10-day Ultimate Caribbean Cruise and it was fantastic! We were celebrating our 25th Anniversay. This was the longest we have ever cruised. Prior cruises were out of Port Canaveral for 3-4 days to the Bahamas. This was so much better.
We were in Cabin 7502 which is the very front of the ship looking straight out to where the ship is sailing. The bed was very comfortable. There was also a couch with a coffee table, so you could watch tv without always having to sit or lay on the bed. There was plenty of storage space for all of our clothes in the drawers and the closet shelves. We stored our suitcases under the bad and then used them as hampers for the dirty clothes. This made packing on the last night a snap.
I agree with navysquid about the deck chairs. We also had trouble finding spots. It was obvious that people rushed up there early morning and put out towels and books and then left for breakfast or whereever. There are signs everywhere More
stating that if no one is at a chair for over 30 minutes then the personal items will be picked up and the chair made available for others. However, this was NEVER enforced. On the last sea day, I personally sat next to two chairs that had towels and books on them, but no people for over an hour and a half.
The food was great in both the dining room and at Portofino's and Chopps. We thoroughly enjoyed the personal attention and intimate dining room of the specialty restaurants. Only complaint, which is minor, is that the portions are way too large. If we had been in a restaurant at home, we would have taken it home to enjoy the next day. Obviously no way to do that here, so a lot of food is wasted. We did My Time Dining and had prebooked our times before arriving at the ship. We mostly had the same Waiters. One day we had a late lunch so we easily changed our dinner reservaiton for another time. They were very accommodating. Less
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Cabin review: Jewel of the Seas
We were in Cabin 7502 which is the very front of the ship looking straight out to where the ship is sailing. The bed was very comfortable. There was also a couch with a coffee table, so you could watch TV or read without always having to sit or lay on the bed. There was plenty of storage space for all of our clothes in the drawers and the closet shelves. We stored our suitcases under the bad and then used them as hampers for the dirty clothes. This made packing on the last night a snap.
Port and Shore Excursions
Cartagena was about what I expected. Since it was built in the early 1500's by the Spanish it very much resembles St Augustine, Florida. I had booked an excursion with Lee Miles Tours and thought that the tour included touring the Fort. However, we just went to the outside of the Fort and were only there about 10 minutes for some outside pictures. If I ever go there again, I will book just a tour of the Fort and not the whole city.
We thoroughly enjoyed our tour of Panama. We booked with My Friend Mario. Our guide was Alex and he was fantasic. We spent about 45 minutes at the Canal observing its operation. Then we went on the Indian Canoes across the lake and up the river. We were supposed to go to a waterfall, but the river level was too low. So instead we stopped at a sandbar and walked around and swam in the river current. Then back in the canoes and over to the Indian Village. The Indian people prepared a wonderful lunch of Talapia, Plantains and fresh fruit. All was serve in bowls they formed out of banana leafs. The Indian people did some ceremonial dancing and showed us their Village and handi-crafts. No pushiness when we were browsing. Then back down the river and over the lake back to the ship. Very nice day.
We selected the Rays, Reef and Rum Point tour with Native Way Watersports. Our guides and boat drivers were Everton and Moses. First we stopped at Sting Ray City. Very fun interacting with the rays. Everton never "pushed" us to touch them or not. You did if you were comfortable. Then we went over to a reef for snorkeling. Lots of marine life to see. Then we went to Rum Point for lunch. This was a tourist stop that is very much like Key West, Fl. The food was typical lunch food, burgers, salads, sandwiches. Lunch was included in the tour and everyone got to select one lunch entree. After lunch we had about 1 1/2 hours to go to the beach. There were lounge chairs and hammocks for use. No problem finding an empty one. Then we went back to the port. The tour ended here, but we chose to walk around a little bit and shop for souvenirs. Another wonderful day.
Another great day! We toured with Okey Dokey Tours. Our guide was Jorge. We went first to the zipline and after a brief lesson, we were on the wagon up the mountain being pulled by a tractor. We did 7 zips between 9 platforms. All of the platforms have workers to make sure that you're hooked on properly and they assist with stopping. Next we went to the Del Monte banana plantation. But first on the way, Jorge stopped and pulled leaves off a tree. The leaves are the main ingrediant in Chanel No.5. The Del Monte plantation was very interesting and enlightening about how bananas are grown, packaged and shipped. Next we stopped again on the side of the road to see a family of Holler Monkeys in the trees. Afterwards, we stopped at a roadside produce stand, where we tried all of the fruits that they grow right there on their property. They also squeezed sugar cane and we drank a little of that too. Next stop was the Tortuga River for a wildlife tour. It was a little slow as the animals are not out at that time of the day. But we saw some iguanas, sloths, a crocadile and lots of birds. After that we went to lunch at a restaurant at Bonita Beach. We thought that we would be actually going on the beach, so we brought swimsuits and towels, but we just stayed at the restaurant and looked at the beach views. Lastly we toured a little of Puerto Limon and went up in a neighborhood for a highpoint view of the town, ocean and our ship. Jorge did tell us to not buy coffee anywhere along the route as it is too expensive. So, we stopped at a local grocery store on the way back to the ship and coffee was only $4.00 a pound! Very nice day.